December 24, 2013

Bad news for Christmas: Mel Davis, original founder of the People Band, died last November...

Mel Davis, the original founder of the People Band, friend of Glen Sweeney, Clive Kingsley and Lyn Dobson, died at the beginning of last November. His old musicians and friends played a moving funeral lament on November 6th at Woodlands Crematorium in Scunthorpe documented on YouTube at the page

                                    The funeral lament for Mel Davis.

Excellent jazz & avantgarde pianist/multi-instrumentalist, Mel Davis played the cello in TEB's "Alchemy" (1969) being a real key figure in the British jazz, most of all for playing with The People Band.

The People Band in the Sixties
At the beginning of 2012 The People Band was reformed for some concerts. Reviewing a gig in London played in March of this year, Sammy Stein of "All About Jazz" wrote that "another wonderful moment was provided by Davis' piano solo, demonstrating why he is still one of the most respected players in the business".

And in an other occasion, analyzing The People Band's music: "Free jazz is what the People Band play and perhaps this is an odd term for music which is actually highly controlled by individual players and the right notes are played around a root chord – just not necessarily in the right order to form what we know as a ‘tune’. (...) Words used to describe The People Band’s playing include visceral, free wheeling, forceful and anarchic and all of these are true but what 

The People Band on stage in 2012.
makes a People Band performance special is that the musicians do not stick to the tune but rather, the music takes on a life of its own, invading the spirit and souls of performers and listeners alike. With the People Band, the audience are encouraged to take part should the muse take them. Instruments are swapped, players mingle with the crowd and the music takes the lead.

"With root chords to guide, the players come in or fall silent as the muse takes them. One moment blowing a complicated sax riff, the next tapping out a simple rhythm on a tambourine. Yet, all have an innate understanding of where the piece is going. Unfettered by convention of traditional rhythms, tempos or dynamics, the players are led by the spirit of jazz who joins them on stage, tempting, cajoling, pushing, getting them to overblow to get more notes, creating music of teeth crunching discords working alongside sublime and divine sweetness, yet all working together to explore every avenue of jazz – this is free form".

Music losts another great musician, a pure innovator, an experimental mind... a fundamental protagonist of the TEB's glorious story!

A Mel Davis Discography
Third Ear Band - "Alchemy" (LP/CD - Harvest 1969) Davis played the cello
The People Band - "The People Band" (LP/CD - Transatlantic, 1970)
Loverly - "Play World Wild Music" (CD - ITM REecords, 1988) Davis composed some tracks and played the piano
Various Artists - "Resonance Volume 8 Number 2 / Volume 9 Number 1: LMC…The First 25 Years" (CD - London Musicians' Collective 2000) compilation with a track played by Mummy
Various Artists  - "Not necesserily 'English Music'" (2CD - EMF, 2001) compilation with a track by The People Band
The People Band - "People Band 69/70" (CD - Emanen 2009) an anthology with unrealised tracks

Web sites 

 no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

December 16, 2013

English musician Michael Tanner quotes TEB's "Stone Circle" as one of his inspirations...

From the blog called "Grounding Sounds" ( we find out Dorset musician Michael Tanner quotes "Stone Circle" as one of his favourite tracks. 

Tanner is behind several projects including his solo work as Plinth and collaborations as part of The A.Lords, Thalassing, Cloisters, Taskerlands. He has records as himself too. His works have been released through several labels including Second Language, Time Released Sound, Rif Mountain and Deadslackstring. 
                        The cover of "The Cloisters", Turner's last album.

His sound sits somewhere between folk, modern classical and experimental ambient music. Lot of his albums are listenable at
His last record, titled "The Cloisters", is a beautiful, organic, ambient music.

About "Stone Circle" he sustains: "No band sums up the Dark, Olde England quite like the Third Ear Band. The music occasionally induces the horrors but then veers back trance-like. This is the music Steve Reich would have made if he were a Pict" 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)      

December 05, 2013

Finally also first TEB cellist BRIAN MEREDITH has emerged from the fogs of time!

A new Great Miracle of the Web for all the Third Ear Band's fans around the world: disclosing his obscure and quite legendary identity, just today Brian Meredith has posted this few words on that old file I wrote on August 2012 titled "Who knows Brian Meredith?" ( ):

Brian Meredith and Glen Sweeney on stage for one of the first TEB show in 1967!

"Call off the hunt, Luca! I am Brian Meredith, one of the four founders of TEB, the cellist Clive Kingsley thought may have been named Graham. BTW, I tracked down and called Clive a few years ago after somebody drew my attention to his misrememberances. I stayed with the group for its first 16 months before moving to live overseas (first to Sydney, then to New York). These days, I'm a 69-year old living in Southern California, and have had my attention drawn to this "Who Is Brian Meredith?" topic by someone who saw me acknowledging the passing of 94-year old master cellist (and founding member of the original Chico Hamilton Quintet) Fred Katz. I'll be happy to continue this conversation, Luca, and to help clear away the fog I'm becoming aware has gathered around Third Ear Band's origins. But right now, I shall attempt to add a photo to this comment. I have today posted a pic online that shows Glen and myself on stage. Carolyn Looker may recall that, once she had designed, cut and sewn all our band uniforms, Glen picked one of our first 1967 club appearances to have a photographer take a whole bunch of pictures of us from various angles. This was one of those shots".

Brian Meredith today.
Another very interesting post by him is included on another file of this Archive after a Carolyn Looker interview at

So we'll have a long interview with Brian soon to discover other obscure things from the Third Ear Band past!  
Keep in touch!

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)     

December 04, 2013

Rare Harvest anthology with TEB track available for free download.

"Picnic. A breath of fresh air", a double LP anthology published by Harvest Records in England on June 1970 to celebrate the first year of the label, is available for free downloading at
The  anthology, among tracks by Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Syd Barrett, Edgar Broughton Band, Roy Harper..., includes "Water" played by the Third Ear Band taken from the "Elements" album.

I'm particularly close to this record because when in 1976 I bought it  in a little record shop of the smalltown where I lived I could listen for the first time to the Third Ear Band. Just then I decided to find all the records the band had produced. So in some ways "Picnic" was the beginning of all: the     researches on the TEB, the first attempts to contact Glen to convince him to reform the band, the following management of the group for the Italian tours/records, finally this Archive with many unexpected contacts and discoveries...

In these last years the vinyl edition (Harvest SHSS 1/2), not too hard to find, is a collector's item valued around 15-20 euros.
In 2007 E.M.I. edited also a 3CDs with similar title ("A Breath of Fresh Air") but a different (enhanced) tracks selection: Third Ear Band is included here with two tunes - "Druid One" (from "Alchemy") and "Overture", from the 1972 "Macbeth" film soundtrack.

The inside LP cover
 no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

November 29, 2013

Ex-Judas Priest guitar hero K.K. Downing quotes the Third Ear Band celebrating his 62nd birthday!

Maybe it can look incredible, but ex-Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing quotes the TEB  while he's celebrating his 62nd birthday...
Read this, taken from the The House of Hair Web site ( ):

"Ex-Judas Priest guitar great K.K. Downing celebrated his 62nd birthday on October 27with this birthday message riminiscing about his younger days: 

“Well, it’s that time again! Another birthday comes around! All of you that were there with me in the late ‘60s/’70s and onwards will know what I mean. Isn’t it crazy that Mick Jagger is 70, for example? And Jimi Hendrix would also have been 70 this year. Anyway, not to be too down about it, because at least we were there to witness everything that is relevant to the music that we know and love today. I always say that I couldn’t have been born at a better time. I was just in my early teens when John Mayall, Cream and all of the early blues artists were just coming to fruition along with The Stones, Pretty Things, Troggs, and The Kinks, etc. This was all back in the day when music was everything to us, and it was all we had and we were more than happy with just that. Although I can remember having an insatiable appetite that always wanted feeding, so I had to go to concerts and festivals as much as I could. That’s because what I wanted was still scarce on radio and television. I seem to remember being 16 and there was only the late and great John Peel who played anything close to what we wanted to hear. Although John’s taste was often a little too diverse for me, including, for example, T. Rex, Captain Beefheart and the Third Ear Band, John was still the greatest pioneer and champion of our cause at the time.

John Peel & records
Am I jogging some memories here? Again starving for the real thing, I was lucky enough to see two shows on this Jimi Hendrix tour, Coventry 19th of November and Bristol 24th of November 1967. I can’t remember which tour it was but can remember being ecstatic when I myself with Priest played these venues later on, especially following in Jimi’s footsteps playing on stage right. Another great venue close to my heart: Newcastle City Hall — where Priest have played many times. I have only just found out that the tour went there. It is said and written that the great Lemmy [of Motorhead] himself was also working the tour as a roadie. I have hung out with Lemmy many times and never knew this; otherwise I would have wanted a gig by gig report off him. Anyway, my devoted friends, it is for sure that the Internet is our greatest friend and our worst enemy at the same time. But I am certainly grateful to the Internet today, in order to be able to bring this blog to you now. Please take care and please continue to feed the flames of metal.”

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)    

November 25, 2013

Avantguarde French composer Bernard Parmegiani died on last November 21th.

Avantguarde French composer Bernard Parmegiani has died on last November 21th at 86. He played on June 24th, 1970 with the Third Ear Band at the "Sun Wheel Ceremony", a concert promoted at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall of London.

The I.T. ad
That evening the band played with Bernard Parmegiani two traks, "Fire" and the unpublished 34'56" "Freak Dance" (other title: "Pop Secret", from the Parmegiani official Web site). On "Melody Maker" (July 4th, 1970), Chris Charlesworth wrote about the event: "The hall was barely half full. Accompained at times by electronic machines making weird sounds Third Ear Band droned through two lenghty pieces which were well accepted by their fans. Their music has no title and is 90 per cent improvisation. It just starts and finishes when the band feel like it. There's a vague anonymity about their music. However violinist Richard Coff, who hate make announcements, did mention that one piece was called "Freak Dance". This contained some haunting oboe work from Paul Minns, and I rather enjoied it. Their second piece was more ambitious and, I thought, less enjoyable. At one stage I actually saw Richard tapping his foot!".

Quite different Carolyn Looker's memories of the event (April 2012): "Parmegiani concert was at Festival Hall. It didn't work too well in my opinion. TEB's music was organic, the French were music concrete, it didn't got".

You can listen some original Parmegiani's compositions (from 1965 and 1971) at or download his "De Natura Sonorum" (1984) at


His official Web site at and a very good tribute (with fabulous music excerpts!) at
Lastly, a very good 2008 essay on Parmegiani's music by electronic sounds expert Simon Reynolds at

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

November 03, 2013

An interview with Glen Sweeney on an old Italian book.

Italian musician and journalist Pierluigi Castellano dedicated to the Third Ear Band an interview in a book edited in 2004 by publisher DeriveApprodi ( titled "Le sorgenti del suono. Trenta incontri con musicisti straordinari" ("The sources of sound. 30 meetings with extraordinary musicians" - pages 192, € 13.00). 
Among the others, original interviews (just in Italian) with 'monsters' as Terry Riley, John Cage, Philip Glass, Uri Cane, Alice Coltrane, Brian Eno... to investigate the origins of their sound.
As the author states in the preface, the aim of this book is "to detect the freedom of choice inside and against the limits imposed by present conditions. Suggesting an idea of musical expression deprived of gerarchies, with processes of contamination taken even from scientific disciplines, and restating the power of collision between subversive power of art and his reduction to the logic of a controlled communication".

About the Third Ear Band, in December 1989 Castellano asked few  questions to Glen Sweeney related to the origins of the group, the first two albums recorded ("Even today I like much to listen to them: in particular the second one that probably is the best album we have done..."), the experience with Polanski's Macbeth.
About this Sweeney reveals: "(...) Personally, I had the idea that a soundtrack were something of too artificial, not so ideal to make good music: so I replied we were just available to improvise on the pictures he'd given to us. (...) I think music we recorded was very very good, but it happened something of very funny: the copy on which we had worked was b&w and just the evening before  we realized Polanski's Macbeth was a wonderful full color movie... Obviously it was really pleasant, while the black and white ones was so glum...".

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

October 27, 2013

New contribution on the Web about the TEB's Macbeth soundtrack.

A new critical contribution about the Thirds and their wonderful gloomy soundtrack for the Polanski's "Macbeth" is available on the Web at "Dark Holler Arts" site -
The interesting piece is titled "Wyrd sisters: Third Ear Band and Polanski's MacBeth".

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

October 18, 2013

New radio show with Third Ear Band Music at Stroud FM.

"Hello Luca, how are you?
Things are going well here, my progressive rock radio show is still going strong and I'm pleased to say that I have played a few Third Ear Band tracks and people have been enjoying them. My query isn't really a major one, but I thought I should still check.

I recorded my latest show yesterday and ended it with Mike Oldfield's "Lament for Atlantis" and thought that I could do a vague link between shows by starting the next one with the Third Ear Band's "Atlantis Rising". However I was concerned that I couldn't find the album I have 'Magic Music' listed on their discography (or rather, not the version that I have) and then saw your archive on unofficial albums, so I was wondering if it is okay to play the tune?

If not that's fine, I'll just play a track from one of the other albums I have. Either way I'll be opening my next show with the Third Ear Band!
All the best,
Ed Wilkins"

"No problems, Ed, you can use the track. If you let me know when the show will be aired I'll inform all the fans through the Archive.
All the best.

"Thanks Luca. I'm recording the show tomorrow and it will go out at 10pm on Monday (the 21st). It will also be on my Listen Again page for a while afterwards:
I think there are one or two shows already on there with the Third Ear Band played as well.
All the best

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first) 

October 12, 2013

Tracked down the shots of the "Atomic Sunrise" festival: what about that with the Third Ear Band playing?

The festival was shot by an unknown underground director and the (33 hours! of) footages was missed for around 20 years, until a guy called Adrian  Everett tracked down them and tried to edit. 
Here's an excerpt of the article written by Tim Cumming:

"Atomic Sunrise: a rare glimpse of David Bowie, Genesis and Hawkwind on the brink of stardom
It’s the missing film that captures David Bowie’s transition from acoustic to electric star; the emergence of Genesis and Hawkwind; and the musical birth of the Seventies with the rise of glam, prog and heavy rock.
The Atomic Sunrise festival, held at the Roundhouse between 9 and 15 March 1970, was the direct consequence of the murderous events at Altamont the previous December. The Grateful Dead not only pulled out of that gig: they also withdrew from a scheduled appearance at the Roundhouse the following March, which left a week free to mount what was billed as “Seven Nights of Celebration” in a “Living Theatre Environment”.

Three bands were scheduled to play each night, many of them regulars at the Roundhouse’s Sunday Implosion gigs, with The Living Theatre – officially the oldest experimental company in the world – moving among the crowd like the counter- cultural equivalent of a flash mob, but with social/political consciousness-raising rather than marketing as the intent. They were the resident artistes at Atomic Sunrise, on a bill that included many names welded firmly to that time: Graham Bond (whose presence deterred the billed but absent Black Sabbath), Brian Auger, Third Ear Band, Fat Mattress, Gypsy. But none of these are what gives the film to be premiered at the Roundhouse on 11 March its cachet. That lies with the unique, thrilling footage of Bowie, Genesis, and Hawkwind at formative stages of their careers. There is nothing else like it on film. 

(...) The film’s director-producer, Adrian Everett, first heard of the footage in the late 1970s. Who actually placed the cameras in those communal, countercultural early days is not on record, but the stock was being held against a film-processing bill of several thousand pounds. Everett tracked it for years, until, in 1990, he was told it was to be destroyed unless the bill was paid. He put down the money hours before the film was to be trashed, and with the film and the rights secured, his next task was to see exactly what it contained. He spent the next three days watching 33 hours of rushes.

“It was adding the sound and seeing the film come to life that made me realise how important it is,” he remembers. “Until then I just thought it might be interesting, but now I knew it was amazing. That’s why I felt I had to get it out there.”
A deal with a record store owner provided a small budget to begin a first cut, and a chance encounter put him in touch with the original sound man at the gig, who helped him put music to the silent film footage.

“I developed a method of playing and replaying the footage – spotting the start of a song and then looking for clues such as an opening word of the lyric or an instrument.” He was working after-hours in a friend’s cutting room, but progress stalled when Everett’s backer pulled out during the early 1990s recession. Aside from a few assembled performances, the rushes remained just that, sequestered in boxes for the next 20 years, largely unedited and virtually unseen.
Efforts to secure a broadcast slot on the BBC or on Sky came to nothing, and in the meantime, the original participants were heading for that great gig in the sky. Mick Ronson was the first to go, in 1993. In 2010, when Everett heard of the passing of original Genesis drummer John Mayhew, he determined to get a cut of the film into circulation. “Not only so that people could see it at last,” he says, “but as a sort of tribute to those who had gone, some of them unrewarded and almost unknown.”
Taking time out from editing an hour-long first cut of a film that has travelled with him for more than 30 years, Everett admits that it’s “nerve-wracking wondering if people will be pleased with the result”.

“But I can only do the best I can with the resources I have,” he says. “The music and images are amazing, and my plan is to do a book and DVD of the final edit. There are so many strands to this story. It’s a great story to tell.”

‘Atomic Sunrise’ is screened at the Roundhouse, London NW1 (0844 482 8008; 11 & 12 March".

If it's clear the projected film does not include footages with the Third Ear Band in, it seems quite possible the live set the band played it's included on the 33 hours shot.
It would be important having some infos by Mr Everett and for this we've sent an email at 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)   

October 03, 2013

The very rare National Balkan Ensemble record on Ebay!

The very rare Various Artists record with three tracks by the National Balkan Ensemble (Standard Music Library ESL 112, 1970) is on sale on Ebay at 95 pounds until October 9th. 

[Note the composers' names printed on the back cover that testify the origins of the band!]

A reconstruction of the album's fascinating story is available on this Archive at
As our post-folk wizard Sedayne states in a post under  here, "It's worth noting that the other side of this album is a sequence of 'Comedy Links & Bridges' - several of which feature in both series of Catweazle. I often think the NBE tracks would have suited Geoffrey Bayldon's time-travelling medieval wizard down to the ground. Jason's Trip, for example, is Catweazle's very essence!".

Infact, one has to admit really intriguing the connections between TEB/NBE music and Catweazle's contents (,, 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

September 30, 2013

"The Third Ear Band’s soundtrack to Macbeth is seminal"...

One of the things I'm usually asking for is why so many bands are claiming to be influenced by the Third Ear Band.  You listen to their music and ask yourself: what hell have this music to do with the Third Ear Band's ones?
Here's a new band states it on an interview, The Toutatis from England.

Who are ya?
"Dried out by salt air and fine wines, By Toutatis are a collection of fops and grizzled folkies who use the “Three Bs” to create their distinctive sound: baritone, broken things and buzzing noises".

Where are you from?
"Many places, converging generally around the wonderful land of Saltburn-by-the-Sea".

How long have you been doing what you’re doing now?
"Three swift and sexually-charged years".

Is being a musician your full time job?
"Not having full time jobs is our full time job. Although drummer Ben works at the amazing Georgian Theatre in Stockton".

How would you explain your sound to someone’s 90 year old grandmother?
"Picture that favourite dancehall from your youth. Remember the glitz and the glamour? The dancing? The nights that never ended…? Now imagine it burning – slowly reducing to ashes festooned with shards of glitterball and cremated bowties. See the band resolutely playing in the corner? That’s us. With a wind organ". 


Are there any obvious influences in your music? "Jacques Brel, Tindersticks and Yann Tiersen have been bandied about…".

Are there any not so obvious influences in your music?
"The Third Ear Band’s soundtrack to Macbeth is seminal".

Apart from yourself of course, what other band/artist would you recommend our readers check out?
"Dressed Like Wolves, RM Hubbert, Natasha Haws, General Sherman…too many more to list".

Best place for people to find out what you are up to? is where it all seeps out from. Tweets are regularly freed from @bytoutatisband

The band's last record "The Song we Sang to Death" is available for free listening at

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 26, 2013

A memory about the Thirds in 1972...

Miracle of the Net. Memories about the Third Ear Band from people that lived that Day. Here's Craig Runyon, who saw the band on live in 1972. This thing is taken from the excellent Facebook's TEB Fans Page run by Mirco Delfino ( 
We thank him for the precious work he's doing...

"As a 19 year old immigrant from Baltimore. Glen Sweeney was very nice to me. I met him back stage at the premier of Matching Mole's "Little Red Record". He was the first person to start talking to me. I told him that I had seen Third Ear Band at the Kings Cross Cinema that summer supporting Hawkwind. I remember Third Ear Band played last that night well into the dawn they were magnificent. They were performing material from the recording that released years later entitled "The Magus". I specifically remember the song "Cosmic Wheel" being performed. The vocals in this haunting song were unforgettable. Glen explained to me that night that Third Ear Band were in a transitional period because they were moving from acoustic to electronic music. This was brought to a halt by the music commissioned by Hugh Hefner to compose the acoustic music soundtrack of Roman Polanski's Macbeth. They were paid £150,000 a generous sum for those days. Glen said he lived an ordinary life in a modest flat in London and that he wasn't interested in a rock star life style. He said that his cooker wire in his kitchen was broken.Glen also told me that every one was frightened of Roman Polanski people believed that he was cursed. That every where Polanski went people dropped off like flies.As t ime foretold Glen Sweeney wasn't interested in fame and fortune.His art came first.I think his generation was the last to be like this.I hope that Glen's great knowledge in music can be passed down to the next generation.This is very important for the culture.The night I met Glen I was with Lol Coxhill who has also sadly passed away.I don't know if they ever worked together because Lol did work in the folk genre with The Albion Band.This was a profound generation of truly great artists.That lived in a time of great optimism and hope.They must never be forgotten".

Editor's chronological notes: the London King's Cross Cinema TEB concert was played on June 6th, 1972. The premiere of Matching Mole's "Little Red Record" was probably around September of that year, just before the band disbanded in late September. The album was finally realised in November of that year.

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 20, 2013

New attempt to interview Peter Mew, E.M.I. Studios sound engineer that recorded TEB in the '60's...

Ghetto Raga Archive has tried a new attempt to interview Peter Mew, the well-known sound engineer that recorded TEB in the Sixties at Abbey Road studios.
Now a kind Holly Pearsons, "Communications Co-ordinator" at E.M.I., answers me that "Peter Mew has now retired from his post at Abbey Road Studios, so I have forwarded your email to him at home. If he's interested in taking part, I'm sure he will be in touch with you directly".

So we hope Mr. Mew would be agreed with this, it would be very interesting to ask him some questions about the past with the Thirds...

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 15, 2013

English folk musician & singer Sharron Kraus states her pastoral music is inspired by the Third Ear Band...

"Sharron Kraus is a singer, musician and songwriter who both defiantly recasts and tenderly cherishes the folk tradition. Her songs tell intricate tales of rootless souls, dark secrets and earthy joys, the lyrics plucked as sonorously as her acoustic guitar. Utilising voice, field recordings and sparse instrumentation, her new project, 'Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails' attempts to evoke the music embodied within the landscapes of Mid Wales. In Sharron's own words: 

"Driving along the Elan Valley from Rhayader to Aberystwyth one sunny day I had the overwhelming sense that there was music contained in the landscape, waiting to be discovered. I decided to move to Mid-Wales, to a quiet place just north of that valley and try to tap into that music and draw it out. Over a period of two years I walked and drove around the area, criss-crossing the landscape, stopping wherever the magic of the place was too strong to ignore. I took a minidisc recorder with me and recorded the birds, streams and waterfalls, the animals, the wind, and the jet planes that sliced through the quiet. I listened and absorbed as much as possible and then went home and recorded. 
"My initial aim was to record a soundtrack for my own experiences, something to listen to as I drove along the winding mountain roads or walked out in the hills at night, but as the project developed and other musicians added to it, the pieces moved out of the realm of the purely personal and became soundscapes that captured something of this place, unlocked an enchanted world. Musical reference points include Eno's ambient works, Richard Skelton's landscape-inspired pieces, Mike Oldfield's 'Hergest Ridge', Popol Vuh's soundtrack to Herzog's 'Nosferatu' and the music of the Third Ear Band, Fursaxa, Plinth, the latter two being people I've collaborated with." (from Second Language Music site at

Listen the full album of this really pastoral music at and, beyond the inspiration admitted, decide by yourself if the references are true.
To myself, this sounds are quite near to the gloomy, sinister, esoteric mood of some TEB music ("Macbeth"?). Really English and organic, pagan and ritual... Alchemical? Ipnotic?... and the very impressive vocal textures (i.e. on "Dark Pool" or "Cadair Idris") remind me that masterpiece titled "Parallelograms" by Linda Perhacs (1970)...
The same Rob Young on his seminal book "Electric Eden" (Faber and Faber, London 2010) quotes Kraus in a group of musician "all sallying into the wildwood with dronal, rustic "Dark Britannia" and viewing the tradition through the retrospective of prims like The Wicker Man" (page 604). 

Realised on August 13th, 2013, the record is played by Sharron Kraus (voice, guitar, dulcimer, organ, recorders, drones, percussion, field recordings), Harriet Earis (harp),
Mark Wilden (drums) and Simon Lewis (Korg MS-20). 

Brave English (new) folk music! 

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)  

September 09, 2013

A new pretty picture of the Third Ear Band emerged from the Net!

This is a new unknown photo of the Third Ear Band taken at the Isle of Wight festival on August 31th, 1969 by Karen Francis.

Differentely from the set taken by Barry Plummer (read here the interview with him at this beautiful picture (as that one already known taken by Derek Halsall) show us the stage and the band in vivid colour. 
I've got a contact with Francis, and she's been very kind to write me these memories:

"Hi Luca
What a surprise! I remember odd bits about the 1969 IOW Festival of course but not too many specifics, after all I was just 18 years old then and I'm 62 now! I do recall the impact of the whole weekend as it was so enormous in my life back then - I had hitched a lift to the docks and bought a ferry ticket, walking to the site and spent the whole three days living on doughnuts and little else.
You asked about the Third Ear Band. They did make an impression on me and that is why I took their (rather bad) photo. I was in the front 'row' of 35,000 people, a little left of centre and up against a fence in front of which was the press area and where celebs like John Lennon and Yoko Ono occasionally sat. I had a little Kodak Instamatic camera and one film (12 photos) which is why I have so few photos!

I remembered the band because they were so different - I'd not heard anything like that and, to be honest, I wasn't sure whether I liked the music or not at the time. I could pick up the fact that the origins seemed to be all over the place, a bit gypsy, a fair bit of Indian influence and very 'modern' and alternative in outlook. As a very young person who had travelled some distance to see rock bands like the Who and Moody Blues, it was rather grown up and other worldly for me I suppose. Now that I am several decades older I can see how ahead of their time this band really was - if I could whistle back in time now I would appreciate their stuff far more and indeed I do have a copy of the remastered Alchemy so you see they did make an impression :-)

I expect that you have managed to source a copy of the 1969 IOW programme for yourself but, if not, this is what the description of the band said:
"The music is the music of the Druids, released from the unconscious by the alchemical process, orgasmic in its otherness, religious in its oneness, communicating beauty and magic via abstract sound whilst playing without ego enables the musicians to reach a trance-like state, a 'high' in which the music produces itself. This is the aim of the Third ear; to act as carriers of consciousness and to play a music that being non-conscious is an organic synthesis of all musics "...each piece is as alike or unalike as blades of grass or clouds".

I had no idea what that meant, still don't :-) 

I enjoy photography but am, and always have been, an amateur. I take photos of wildlife for pleasure, that's all [check her wonderful photo blog at ].
My photo is rubbish in my opinion but feel free to use is it if you wish.

Rubbish or not, dear Francis, I'm sure this is a really precious gift for all the TEB fans around the world!

  The original page of the festival programme dedicated to the TEB.

no©2013 Luca Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)